I am still behind on doing posts about the books I am reading. I usually try to do them right after I finish, but I have been off track for a few months. I am trying to get back into a more regular cadence. I finished Andy Weir’s latest novel, Project Hail Mary, in the first part of June. I read Artemis in May 2019 and have had The Martian on my TBR list for a while. I enjoyed Artemis so I added Project Hail Mary to my Kindle when it was released in May.
Project Hail Mary opens when the protagonist wakes up alone on a spaceship with two dead crewmates. He can’t remember his name or how he got there. As he starts to explore the ship, he realizes he does know a lot about the ship and about science in general. As he accesses the ship’s systems, he figures out that he’s in a different star system and has been sent on a mission to save our solar system from a microorganism that is literally eating our sun. If he doesn’t succeed, the Earth will enter a new ice age that will kill billions of people. His memory slowly returns. He remembers his name is Ryland Grace and that he is a high school science teacher. He is also a theoretical physicist. As he tries to figure out what to do to accomplish the mission, his ship is approached by an alien spaceship. That sets the stage for the rest of the story. I will leave the rest for you to discover if you decide to read it.
The story is told using two narrative techniques. The story on the spacecraft is told in a linear timeline. This is interspersed with “flashbacks” about the events that led up to the mission as Grace regains his memory. As these two intertwined stories unfold, you learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of the main character. Weir’s prose is well-written and has a solid cadence. He has a sense of humor and touch of irony that definitely comes through as you read. It has moments of suspense and moments that make you think. The book explores a lot of topics, but the focus is always on how someone can use their knowledge, skills and, most of all, perseverance, to overcome the seemingly impossible when the stakes are astronomically high.
This was a fun read to kick off the summer with. Recommended read.
Project Hail Mary
By Andy Wier
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.
Or does he?
An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could deliver, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian—while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.
Published May 4, 2021
426 pages (print)